Choosing the right chicken breed to raise can be daunting, whether you are a beginner or an old-timer. But if this is the first time you heard about Langshan chickens, it might help you decide.
This chicken breed has many great qualities that many chicken farmers love. After all, the Langshan chicken would not last for more than a century for nothing.
Langshan chickens are relatively rare, especially in the United States and the United Kingdom. Both countries declared them as a threatened species.
Langshans are also not common in their origin country, China, but the Chinese government is helping breeders raise them. Yet, this breed is very popular in Australia.
The Langshan chicken is a very old breed. Its first color variant was admitted to the American Poultry Association (APA) Standard of Perfection in 1883. Despite being rare, its interesting characteristics are still attracting chicken farmers and beginners as well. If you want to know why, this ultimate guide has everything about Langshan chickens.
Where Do Langshan Chickens Originate?
Langshan chickens originate in China and were named after the Langshan Mountains (also called Wolf Hill), where they were first seen.
This scenic area is located in Jiangsu Province, in the eastern part of China, near the Yangtze River. Although the breed’s ancestors are not known, it is believed as one of the oldest chicken breeds in the world.
Langshan Chicken History
The first Langshan chickens in England were imported from China by Major F.T. Croad in 1872. However, it was Miss A. C. Croad (the major’s niece), who established this breed in the country.
She wrote a book about it titled “The Langshan Fowl: Its History and Characteristics, with Some Comments on its Early Opponents,” published in 1889.
At first, many poultry enthusiasts thought that Langshan chickens are a poor variant of Cochin chickens, another old Chinese chicken breed. Langshan chickens were called Croad Langshan chickens, and the Croad Langshan Club was formed in 1904. This breed was imported to the US in 1876 by E.A. Samuels of Waltham, Massachusetts.
Unfortunately, their population was greatly reduced after World War II. The Langshan Breed Club, which was formed in 1895, was also dissolved. Yet, English breeders have developed the Modern Langshan from the Croad Langshan, and dropped the name “Croad.” Today, American Langshans are also referred to as Langshan chickens.
Aside from Croad Langshans and Modern Langshans, the two other types of Langshan chickens are German Langshans and Shanghai Langshans (shorter-legged type).
German Langshans are a cross between Plymouth Rocks and Minorcas, while the Shanghai Langshans were used to create the Black Cochins and Black Orpingtons.
Are Langshan Chickens Rare?
Langshan chickens are quite rare these days. The Modern Langshan is known in China and some parts of Asia but is considered rare in the United States and the UK. A new Langshan club was established in 2016, though.
The Australian Langshan, which was derived from Croad Langshans, is unknown outside Australia and is also now rare.
As of posting, the Langshan chicken (Modern Langshan) is listed at the Livestock Conservancy as “Threatened.” This means that there are less than 5,000 Langshan chickens in the world, and only less than 1,000 in the US.
Fortunately, many chicken farmers in the US are now getting interested in trying this Modern Langshan chicken.
Langshan Chicken Identification
What Do Langshan Chickens Look Like?
The original Langshan chicken (Croad Langshan) was black with a radiant green sheen. It has dark, brown eyes, a medium-sized, single comb, a full, large breast, a great depth of body, and fairly long legs.
Modern Langshans are quite taller than Croad Langshans, and they have tighter plumage and slimmer breasts like the Modern Game chickens.
On the other hand, German Langshans have smaller breasts and unfeathered legs, while Shanghai Langshans look like Cochins. The APA also recognized three color varieties – black, white, and blue, which is a cross between black and white. All of them have a pinkish tint between their leg scales, as well as pinkish-white feet bottoms.
How Long Does a Langshan Chicken Live?
The average lifespan of Langshan chickens is 5-8 years, which is also common for most chicken breeds. But in captivity and well took care of, they can live up to 10 years.
How Big Do Langshan Chickens grow?
Langshan chickens are considered a large breed. Although there are no documents revealing their exact sizes, these tall critters are relatively smaller than Brahmas and Cochins.
Nevertheless, their tails can reach up to 17 inches long. Langshan chickens are also the tallest among all the non-game chicken breeds.
Are Langshan Chickens a Heavy Breed?
Langshan chickens are a heavy breed. Roosters have an average weight of 9.5 lbs (4.3 kilos), while hens have an average weight of 7.5 lbs (3.4 kilos).
Cockerels weigh about 8.0 lbs (3.6 kilos), while pullets weigh around 6.5 lbs (3.0 kilos). Bantam roosters weigh about 36 oz. (1 kilo), while bantam hens weigh around 32 oz. (900 grams).
Langshan Chicken Wingspan
There are records showing the wingspan of Langshan chickens.
How to Tell Male From Female Langshan Chickens?
Langshan chickens are not sex-linked, which means that chicks of both sexes look the same. A known way of distinguishing male chicks from female chicks is through vent sexing. Here, you should hold the chick upside down and observe their vents. However, this sexing technique needs several years to master to make sure results are accurate.
But if a chick has wing feathers of equal length, it is likely a male. If they are unequal, the chick is likely a female.
Nonetheless, the best way to tell if a Langshan chicken is a male or female is to wait until they become an adult. Roosters are bigger and heavier than hens. The comb and wattles of roosters are also bigger and redder compared to hens.
Can Langshan Chickens Fly?
Langshan chickens are great flyers and can fly over fences that are as high as 6 feet. But because of their heavy weight, these birds cannot fly far.
What Is Langshan Chicken Known For?
Langshan chickens are a dual-purpose breed. This means that they are very useful in both egg and meat production. They produce a huge amount of meat, especially breast meat.
Langshan chickens have more white meat than most breeds of the same size. Their meat has a market weight of 6.5-8 lbs (3.0-3.6 kilos) and is said to be very tasty.
What Are the Distinct Characteristics of a Langshan Chicken?
Langshan chickens have interesting and unique characteristics. Regardless of the type, they have an upright head and tail, revealing a distinctive U-shaped body when viewed from the side.
And although some other Asiatic breeds such as Brahmas and Cochins also have feathered feet, the legs and feet of Langshan chickens have fewer feathers.
What Do Langshan Chickens Eat?
Langshan chickens are not sensitive when it comes to food. Aside from chick crumbs for the chicks, you can also give them cold scrambled eggs and powdered probiotics.
Growing chickens should also eat fruits and vegetables, as well as quality commercial chicken feed. To add calcium to their diet, laying hens should be fed with eggshells.
Are Langshan Chickens Friendly?
Langshan chickens are friendly and docile as well. In fact, they have some dog-like qualities and can easily create a special bonding with their owners and even with small children.
These large birds are also lap sitters and enjoy being touched and cuddled. This kind of temperament made them one of the sweetest chicken breeds in the world.
Are Langshan Chickens Aggressive?
Langshan chickens are not considered aggressive, even to other breeds. Despite their large size, they are very gentle and don’t bully smaller breeds.
Although it is not advisable to mix different chicken breeds in the same coop, the Langshan chicken is not the type of breed that will cause any trouble. But then, they will still stand their ground.
Are Langshan Chickens Loud?
Langshan chickens are not particularly noisy but not necessarily quiet. Just like other breeds, Langshan roosters also love to crow but they are not annoying to hear.
Hens do crow while laying eggs, which is also normal for any kind of hen. This means that you can raise this breed in an urban environment without disturbing your nearby neighbors.
Are Langshan Chickens Good Egg Layers?
Langshan chickens are good egg layers. Interestingly, they also continue laying eggs during very cold months. But because these birds grow slower than similar breeds, they also start laying eggs late, which is at about 6-7 months old.
How Many Eggs Do Langshan Chickens Lay?
Langshan chickens lay 150-220 eggs a year or an average of 3-4 eggs per week. Their egg size is considered large, except those from bantam hens.
How Often Do Langshan Hens Lay Eggs?
Despite being slow starters, Langshan hens can lay eggs continuously every other day during their first three years. Although the frequency will reduce gradually in the succeeding years, some of them can still lay eggs until they are 8-10 years old.
What’s the Color of Langshan Chicken Eggs?
Contrary to a popular myth, Langshan chickens don’t lay purple eggs. This rumor started when some hens had laid dark brown eggs with a purplish tint.
However, this phenomenon is very rare, especially in the United States. The real color of Langshan chicken eggs is brown or very light brown, which is usually mistaken for pink bloom.
Are Langshan Chickens Broody?
Langshan chickens can go broody but not always. Since they only tend to go broody from April to May, Langshan hens can be described as seasonally broody.
Although these heavy birds are good mothers during these months, they cannot be considered determined sitters. So, if you want chicks, make sure you have a reliable incubator.
Breeding Langshan Chickens
Langshan chickens are quite easier to breed as compared to other heavy breeds. This breed doesn’t only adapt well in confinement; they also don’t have problems as free-range.
Their feathered legs also make them extremely cold and hardy as long as they are dry. Nonetheless, Langshan chickens can tolerate moderate heat during summer.
Langshan Chickens Care Tips
As mentioned above, Langshan chickens are a friendly, very versatile, and adaptable breed. They also don’t have genetic diseases that need special attention. But then, these birds are still not safe from common health issues such as frostbite, heat stroke, and bumblefoot.
To help you, here are some caring tips if you have Langshan chickens:
- To protect them from frostbites, avoid allowing their feet to get wet and messy during rainy days and winter. If some of them have large combs, coat them with petroleum jelly.
- To avoid having bumblefoot, check their feet regularly. Make sure their coop and beddings are clean and dry and don’t have sharp objects.
- Although not flighty, they can still fly high. Have your fence higher than six feet.
- To protect them from heat stroke, build a shade where they can rest during summer.
- To help them avoid having internal and external parasites, avoid throwing feed or treats on potentially contaminated areas. Always keep their feeders and waterers clean.
How Much Is a Langshan Chicken?
The price of Langshan chicks mainly depends on how many pieces you will buy. As of November 2022, a male chick costs between $3.89 and $4.54.
A female chick costs between $5.68 and $6.62, while the price of an unsexed chick is from $4.63 to $5.40. The price is lower if you buy more; just make sure you buy only from reputable hatcheries.